Ebola: Govt issues alert

The State Minister in charge of HIV/Aids and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Innocent Nyaruhirira, has issued an alert following an outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The State Minister in charge of HIV/Aids and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Innocent Nyaruhirira, has issued an alert following an outbreak of Ebola in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On Monday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement confirming the latest Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

An estimated 200 people have been killed by the deadly Ebola virus since April this year, the WHO said in the statement.

Dr Nyaruhirira said yesterday that his ministry has already contacted the Treatment Research and Aids Center (TRAC), to set up mechanism to prevent the deadly haemorrhagic fever from spreading to Rwanda from DRC.

“We have alerted local leaders, health professionals and the local population living along the Rwanda-DRC border,” Nyaruhirira said.

Laboratory results have confirmed a deadly illness outbreak in southeastern DRC’s province of Kasai as Ebola fever.

Kisai is about 1,000 kilometers from the Rwandan border.

Dr Nyaruhirira also said that the government has set up stop centers to check for any cases coming into Rwanda.

 “The centers will be identifying the symptoms and trying to isolate whoever is infected as required by the WHO,” he said. Nyaruhira said the killer disease spreads at a very fast rate and it kills in less than seven days.

“Only 10 percent of the treated people are likely to be cured, and the remaining 90 percent has less chances of surviving,” he explained.

The last major Ebola outbreak struck in Kikwit, DRC and claimed about 250 lives. Kikwit is about 185 miles from the site of the current outbreak.

Meanwhile, international health workers launched an emergency operation on Wednesday to fight the spread of the haemorrhagic Ebola fever.

The WHO medical experts and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) joined local health authorities in DRC in a major logistics operation to try to contain the outbreak.

So far, five major cases of Ebola have been confirmed while more than 160 deaths among 352 sick people have been registered over the last four months.

Currently there is no vaccine or treatment for the Ebola fever.
MSF deployed a health team in the Kasai, epicenters have been set up and tonnes of medical equipment have been flown to the troubled DRC region.

The equipment includes plastic tents and structures to isolate infected patients.

Medicines and sanitation materials, such as water tanks, chlorine for disinfectant and Ebola Kits including protective gloves, boots, glasses, masks, uniforms, aprons and hoods for the medical teams have been flown to the Congo.

The disease is so contagious that protective clothing can only be used once and then must be carefully destroyed.

Media reports indicate that DRC heath authorities have called for international assistance to stop the spread of the virus while WHO issued an international request for more doctors and other experts to travel to southeastern Congo to combat the epidemic.

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